Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Benjamin Pollard
Friday, August 26, 2022, 4:27 PM

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The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida unsealed a redacted version of the affidavit that justified the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. The court also released the government’s Motion to Seal three memorandums related to its proposed redactions, among other related documents.

The State Department and researchers from Yale University announced that they found a minimum of 21 detention facilities in Russian-controlled regions of Ukraine. According to their report, there are indications that there may be mass graves near some of the facilities. In a statement, the State Department urged the Russian government to stop its process of “forced deportations and to provide outside independent observers access to identified facilities and forced deportation relocation areas within Russia-controlled areas of Ukraine and inside Russia itself.”

Power from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant returned to the Ukrainian electric grid on Friday after having been severed the day before. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that there was nearly a “radiation accident” during the period in which the power was cut off. There are concerns that the facility has already begun to leak radioactive material, which have prompted Ukrainian officials to begin offering iodine tablets to nearby residents to help combat the dangerous health effects of leaked radioactive iodine in a disaster.

An International Atomic Energy Agency mission will inspect the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant next week, reports the Wall Street Journal. The mission will potentially bring spare parts to the facility, which many are concerned may cause a catastrophe due to recent shelling and its lack of inspection.

The Pentagon released a plan to reduce civilian casualties and limit damage to civilian infrastructure in U.S. operations on Thursday. The report features 11 objectives such as approaches to limit the possibility for “target misidentification,” the creation of procedures to determine civilian harm, and revised guidance on the Defense Department’s approach to public responses in the event of civilian harm. 

The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shabaz Sharif, called on the rest of the world to provide assistance to the country’s evacuation efforts amid intense flooding. Pakistan declared a state of emergency on Friday due to the intense rainfall, which has resulted in 937 recorded deaths in the country since June. The Washington Post published a report on the floods, including a number of videos and photographs of the floods and the damage they have caused in Pakistan.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Benjamin Wittes sat down with Roger Parloff to discuss the recent criminal sentences in the Justice Department’s Jan. 6 investigation. 

Yuval Shany discussed the report published by the Israeli Ministry of Justice clearing the Israeli National Police (INP) of misuse of surveillance powers and what the report by the official inquiry team means for the INP going forward.

Dan Geer, John Speed Meyers, Jacquiline Kazil, and Tom Pike argued that any attempt to avoid “foreign” open-source software is not likely effective nor will it likely improve security.

David Priess shared an episode of Chatter in which he sat down with Fraser Cain to discuss why exploring the moon matters, what to expect from the launch and voyage of Artemis-I, and the challenges of missions to Mars.

Matt Gluck and Hyemin Han shared the Defense Department plan outlining 11 objectives to mitigate civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure as a result of U.S. military action.

Darya Dolzikova and Daniel Salisbury analyzed Viktor Bout’s arms trade network and the details of his capture to elucidate the difficulty in combating the illicit arms trade.

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